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The ancient Homo sapiens Thread

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  • Interesting find indeed. Their faces are less robust than classic Neandertals which much less protrusion of their mid face. Smaller noses and they have more forward cheekbones. They have brow ridges but they look more like robust AMH ones, IE thicker at the outside of the face, rather than the "shelf" across the whole face of other archaic. Their teeth look more modern and they don't have the retromolar gap present in Neandertals*. They kinda look like the more gracile Levantine Neandertals from a much later period and it's possible many of those so far described had EMH genes. No sign of the chin yet. Wonder which is the first specimen to have that feature?

    Another kinda cultural concern I have is because the DNA says (recent)AMH came from Africa and gave rise to us, Africa is seen as the given birthplace of AMH. It also helps that there are more accessible sites there. Now modern Sapiens does get the vast majority of our genetic heritage from folks who spread out across the globe from north east Africa, but who is to say that their ancestors evolved there in isolation? If I was a betting man I'd look to more of a geographical genetic "crossroads" area like the Middle East. Where diverse forms of archaic hominids mixed over time in a mosaic of genetic lines and features and dispersed back and forth to Africa(and elsewhere). Much bigger selection pressures and admixture than more isolated spots like say Southern Africa.

    It continues to amaze me that of all our planet's species, we're one of the ones whose evolution, one of the most studied, has still got major gaps, appears ever more complex with each filling of those gaps and there are so many discoveries coming thick and fast and many more to come.




    *though Neandertal comparisons to any other hominid for me are a bit of a minefield and may come with some cultural baggage too, as they were first found and described in Europe. We see them as "European"(even to the degree where reconstructions make them out to be white with modern European features, features that Europeans themselves only got relatively recently) so we tend to use them as a benchmark for archaic. Feature wise the two great outliers among all hominids are Modern Sapiens and Neandertals. We look totally weird by comparison. We'd really stick out at the Hominid Office Xmas party. Big headed, flat faced, with small pointy chins and noses. Like overgrown children. Neandertals look like the Tonka trucks of Hominids. IIRC Professor Chris Stringers doctoral thesis was on the comparisons of all hominid cranial structures and one conclusion at the time(and for good reason) was that Neandertals were so far outside the ranges of other hominids, especially us, that it was very unlikely they had anything to do with modern human evolution.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • But Wibbs, didn´t they say genetic evidence suggested they were indeed white? Neanderthals, that is.




  • The jury seems to be out on that score AK, or at least it's up in the air depending on what you read. It seems they had a wide enough range of markers for skin colour which varied over time and geography. Certainly some seem to have been pale skinned, some had genes for lighter, even red hair(the latter a slightly different gene to modern redheads). I'd not be shocked to discover that modern white skin in Europeans came from them. Europeans have a different set of pale genes to for example Asians. Not a great set either, as it leaves us open to skin damage, ageing and cancer(even pale Asians have about the same rate of melanoma as much darker Africans).

    However it seems on current research that the suite of features that make for modern Europeans didn't fully come into play until well after Neandertals were no longer around. Blonde hair looks to be around 15,000 years old. Blue eyes a little younger but not by much. The early Cro Magnons were not blonde blue eyed peoples as described by Hollywood, or indeed by much scientific reconstructions. Neandertals had similar genes, but as I say the gap between them and us getting busy with each other is many thousands of years. Many thousands of years where apparently Europeans weren't pale of skin, hair and eye.

    Then again that might plug into my theory/musing/daftness that Neandertals as a line lasted for much longer than the current evidence shows. At least genetically diluted "Neandertals". They'd be isolated groups, but on the surface would look like "us" more than "them" and would be culturally very similar, so the archeological record would be hard to tease out. I'd not be shocked if it was discovered that peoples with very high Neandertal admixture lasted until just around the time of the agricultural revolution, so circa 10-15,000 years ago BP. And that's why their paleness ended up being reflected in modern Europeans.

    There is a lot of current cultural bias at play IMH. Take this pic of a recent "reconstruction";

    Neanderthal-2.jpg

    That could be a Swedish hipster.

    Or this "reconstruction" of La Ferrassie 1

    _63636669_prehistoric.jpg

    Another ginger "white" lad with a big nose.

    Or this Italian lad.

    neanderthalfeathers211.jpg

    Atomic level hipster. In fairness Italian folks can have "Roman noses" :D But he looks like a Burning Man reveller.

    Or this Neandertal lass.

    60159.jpg

    With her strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes?? Blue eyes that other researchers reckon didn't exist until 20,000 years after she died? Never mind her brow ridges have been reduced and her nose has been narrowed to fit our current notions. They even gave her the suggestion of a chin with that dimple under her lower lip. GTFO.

    Contrast this with the earlier "reconstructions", when our culture of the time saw them as not us, debased humans before the fall.

    Figure-16__Neanderthal__Cave___JPEG.jpg

    Or.

    neanderthalf.png

    Or.

    1930s-Neanderthal-Male-Female-exhibited-in-the-Field-Museum-Chicago.jpg
    Check out the woman. Same skull as the woman above. Very different look and IMH more in tune with the bones

    Or.

    neanderthal.jpg
    I'd personally reckon that's closer, but with smaller ears.

    From the same skulls? Now one might argue that skull reconstruction has come along in leaps and bounds since then and it has, however it is still just as much art as it is science. Nose shape, skin, hair and eye colour, size of lips, skin texture and a lot of other variables are almost entirely conjecture. It's as much in the eye and cultural expectations of the artist as it is in the science of the bones. Look at the mostly American "reconstructions" of ancient Egyptians. The recent culturally driven notion of them being "black Africans", sub Saharan Africans at that has influenced the final outcome of such "reconstructions". Even though the ancient genetics of the area show them to be more like southern Europeans and more like Europeans than current Egyptians. Some have reconstructed Cleopatra as a darker hued African and she was the last of the Greek Ptolemy line, dropped there by Alex the fairly bloody impressive.

    Same with Neandertals. They had been seen as "cavemen" and "not us" from the first discovery. Observe how the "reconstructions" have changed since it was discovered that we carry their blood in us. Look at how perceptions have changed on the back of that too. They've gone from club welding primitives to culturally vibrant sophisticated peoples. Funny how that weirdo in the pub suddenly become less weird when one finds out he may be your uncle...

    Sorry for the long-windedness :o This oh we're sure now cultural bias stuff really grinds me gears.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Well I personally like the older ones a lot better, if only because it fits nicely with the hairy wild man of the woods lore. I agree that the new ones look too human. Almost as if they wanted them Neanderthals to be "attractive". (Not that they're my type or anything but c´mon- at least give them a little body hair :DDoubt they were using wax back then).
    BTW, bout that one reconstruction, you say smaller ears because of anatomical evidence, or because they would be expected in a cold climate species?


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  • Adam Khor wrote: »
    BTW, bout that one reconstruction, you say smaller ears because of anatomical evidence, or because they would be expected in a cold climate species?
    Yeah the colder climate aspect AK. The level of hairiness is hard to call. Every other now mostly tropical animal they shared their colder environment with was hairier. EG wooly rhino, wooly mammoth. It would make sense for a human species who hadn't the same cultural adaptations to the cold(fitted clothes) that we do would be hairier. Against that might be their muscularity which would generate more heat and going by the pigments* they collected they may have been using body paint which doesn't work too well if you're hairy and/or dressed head to foot. Cold adaptation theories have some issues though. Take their enormous noses. The colder the climate, smaller the noses get. The aforementioned mammoth have shorter trunks than modern elephants and smaller ears too. We even see that today among modern human populations. The further away from the tropics noses tend to get smaller. It might simply be that their noses were sexually selected for. Ditto for their larger brow ridges. Might be facial communication aspect to it too. Maybe we reduced our faces to allow for more and more subtle facial expressions.





    *they tend to collect dark pigments which would suggest pale skin if used as body paint. Contrast with native Australians who are dark, their cultures tend to select for pale pigments, whites, yellows and reds.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Wibbs wrote: »
    Cold adaptation theories have some issues though. Take their enormous noses. The colder the climate, smaller the noses get. The aforementioned mammoth have shorter trunks than modern elephants and smaller ears too. We even see that today among modern human populations. The further away from the tropics noses tend to get smaller. It might simply be that their noses were sexually selected for. 
    But there ARE some cold-adapted animals that have big noses. Take the saiga antelope for example. It has long been said that its nose heats and moistens the cold, dry air it breathes. It was actually a pretty abundant animal back during Neanderthal times IIRC. The Takin is another mammal with a proportionally large nose supposedly with the same function. Caribou/reinder come to mind as well. Maybe Neanderthals had a similar function for their noses, to a certain degree at least?
    Measurements show that reindeer have a fantastic ability to change the temperature of the air they inhale before it reaches the lungs, and viceversa. If the air outside is 40 degrees C below zero, the temperature when it reaches the reindeer's lungs is about 38 degrees C. 
    That means the reindeer's ingenious nasal structure can change the temperature of the air an incredible 70 to 80 degrees in less than one second. On exhaling, the reindeer cools its warm breath instantly, in order to conserve as much body heat as possible. In addition, the reindeer breathes out minimal moisture when it exhales, which is especially important to when access to water is only snow, and icy snow at that. 




  • Yeah good points AK. Though that brings me to another of my sore points... :o:D The image we often have of them in reconstructions and media is traversing landscapes like this:

    Tundra_Biome_600.jpg

    Even this:

    polar_region_1.jpg

    When it was much more like this:

    main-qimg-a80efd6b493f1f59476148a00ed276c8-c

    With some of this(which may have impacted them negatively).

    grassland.jpg

    Sure they had cold snaps(Quina culture for example), which they tended to retreat from in short order, but mostly they lived in temperate forested landscapes that could indeed be harsh at times in winter, but not polar level(not too far off current day Irish climate with forest. In some areas like the Levant it was warmer again). They weren't beetle browed Eskimos, so I have some questions of the "cold adaptation" hypothesis. Indeed one pressure they faced that might have added to the list of extinction reasons could be the cold snap that came along into Eurasia not long after we showed up in numbers. We had fitted clothes and they did not*.



    *no needles have yet been found associated with them. Though they appear to have been expert leather workers. The asymmetric bone and muscle growth in their arms was long thought to come from the use of stabbing spears, but more recent experiments show that the same changes can come about by working leather(and might explain why the women also had these changes). They also show wear in the front teeth that holding leather might cause. A third hand as it were. The earliest leather working tool made from bone was made by them(and the same tool is still used today). They also had fine tipped flint bradawls which could easily make holes in hides to pass sinews through and one would wonder what other purpose such tools might serve. They were also woodworkers and if they made their needles from wood, the chances of preservation are slight.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Well, needles can be difficult to find anyway. I remember we talked about this before, and I suggested maybe their huge sausage fingers were too thick to handle needles, but considering what you say about fine tipped tools, I guess not. :B Is this, would you say, the most delicate work produced by Neanderthals, that we know of?

    Couldn´t females have hunted too? We always read about Neanderthal skeletons often showing injury that may be related to hunting incidents, but are those skeletons always from males? After all,  you've said the females were monstrously strong as well, and female chimps and baboons are happy to hunt once in a while along with the males; I even remember reading of a female baboon who would enthusiastically lead the troop against leopards, going as far as to try and drag them out of their lair despite her being much smaller and weaker than the male baboons. Of course she met a grisly end during one of those expeditions, but still... 

    Re: noses, so if not for heating/moistening air, maybe you're right and it was a sexually selected trait. But what are other possibilities? Maybe an improved sense of smell? Are there differences between their olfactory bulb and ours? Or maybe a resonating chamber? I remember reading that they had a high pitched voice which seems odd considering their huge barrel chests, but then again, elk are huge and they make that crazy bugle sound... 
    What do you imagine they sounded like? Could the nose be used to amplify their calls (as in the proboscis monkey) to better communicate in forest habitats? Is there any sign of dimorphism between males and females- as in, males having considerably larger noses? 

    Sorry, lots of questions there. :B




  • The women are less robust alright and unlike the men they show far fewer bone injuries, if any. The men, pretty much every single Neandertal bloke, has suffered broken bones and often head trauma. That could be a mating thing too, or intergroup conflict, where the men featured in that more often. In such dispersed and rare populations when compared to us, maybe women were more valued as a "resource", so less likely to be attacked in such a manner?

    They could certainly produce quite delicate tools. Some culture's tools are positively tiny. Which would require very adept applications of force and delicacy. Even their basic tools required that. If you go on the interwebs where experimental archaeologists and interested amateurs get into flint knapping, some of their works are incredible. Perfect copies of modern human tools of wonderful complexity. However, try finding any flint knapper that can produce a basic Levallois point with consistency. Vanishingly few*. I haven't knapped flint in a long time, but I could ready up an arrowhead that wouldn't be too bad, but could I muster enough precision to pop out a Levallois point? Not a hope in hell.

    In my collecting of their tools, I was always as much interested in their flint cores and hammer stones as their finished article and two things are plain in considering them; they had incredible skill with the technique and their technique wasn't always/usually predicated on a finished tool out of the core. They were a pragmatic people.



    *Though don't get me started on the Levallois technique and how it's described... :D

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



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  • One is reminded of "Gorky Park".




  • Funny enough AK, in my collection of Neandertal lithics I have a scraper made from a distinctive jasper found only in a small place(a few acres) by the name of Fontmaure in France. Neandertals used this resource for a long time, even though it's a pretty crappy material(full of weak spots, so a bugger to knap). Well on this scraper there is a patch of ochre like material and only after I got the piece and looked more closely did I spot it. It's hard to get a good pic of it but you can kinda see the vertical scrapes on the right hand red patch.

    440501.jpg

    It's more in contrast in this angle, again on the right hand side.

    440502.jpg

    So this shows Neandertals using ochre too(evidence has been scant, but I figure maybe people weren't looking in the right places).

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • imaging if they found a piece of charcoal beside it :)




    BTW - fingerprints on the interwebs is not such a good idea , people have used such picture to make fake fingerprint to fool scanners




  • Well, gorillas and chimps learn to paint and draw quite readily in captivity; I'd imagine artistic inclinations have been around since before H. sapiens proper. What do I know tho :B
    The fingerprint thing had crossed my mind, then I was like "nah, yer being too paranoid"...




  • Adam Khor wrote: »
    Well, gorillas and chimps learn to paint and draw quite readily in captivity; I'd imagine artistic inclinations have been around since before H. sapiens proper.
    It's so hard to tell with what evidence there is. Before Sapiens shows up, hell even when we do show up and apparently show no artistic inclinations for tens of thousands of years, evidence of any artistic abstract thought is extremely scant and highly debatable. In Neandertals there was an interpretation of a piece of animal bone wedged into a a worked stone that might be a "face".

    the-mask.jpg?itok=a3G-_pNb

    Another was in the famous site of La Ferrassie in France where a number of possibly interred Neandertals were found(burials are contrary to popular belief still extremely debatable in Neandertals. Even if they were intentionally buried, this does not imply funerary practice). One was of a child and laid on top was a slab decorated with cupules hammered into the living rock.

    prehistoric-boulder.jpg
    But was it original or a later deposition of Sapiens art that slid over the body?

    In Gibraltar researchers found an inscribed series of lines dated to around 40,000 years and at a time when it seems only Neandertals were around.

    chi-neanderthal-cave-art-20140901-002.jpg

    Even earlier at about 170,000 years old, so could only be Neandertals, the recent discovery deep within a French cave of modified stalactites and stalactites arranged into complex stone structures.

    bruniquel-structures-map-jaubert-2016.jpg

    Going much further back a possible "Venus" figure dated between 3-400,000 years old was found in Morocco.

    venustantanfrlge.jpg

    It's dubious, but another similar "Venus" from the same period was also found in Morocco which increases the odds.

    People before us seemed to have had a feeling for symmetry anyway. We can see this in so called Handaxes. The vast majority were utilitarian and rattled out pretty quickly, but some show much more care in their making and appear to show an aesthetic intent. Many that have been further analysed show no appreciable wear on the cutting edges which would suggest some sort of talisman. Some are far too large to be usable as a tool. Many are made from finer materials and a few show fossils, natural holes or other fancies in the rock that appear to have been deliberately shaped to "frame" same.

    tumblr_mi46o2jqJJ1r46foao1_500.png

    tumblr_mi46o2jqJJ1r46foao2_400.jpg
    Both from the UK.

    Here's another found in Northern Spain at a well known site where many bones of Homo heidelbergensis were found and among them just one tool, this handaxe.

    pink-hand-axe.jpg

    Carefully made from a particular coloured stone, with no wear. It may have been some sort of ritual offering. It has been nicknamed "excalibur"

    Of the handaxes and other tools in my collection quite a few show this kind of apparently deliberate inclusions of features in the rock. Including a couple with fossils.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Wibbs wrote: »
    Of the handaxes and other tools in my collection quite a few show this kind of apparently deliberate inclusions of features in the rock. Including a couple with fossils.
    Further to this bit and may be somewhat interesting to some folks: Recently I've been doing a bit of "stocktaking" of my pile of junk esoterica and to kinda illustrate the above. Some of my lithics that show a symmetry and central placing of preexisting interesting features in the stone. These would be all Neandertal or maybe late Heidelbergensis(there's a bit of an overlap) and all French in origin.

    Bifacial scraper.
    441762.jpg
    The white part is very centralised and in the hand is even more obvious. It stands out even when backlit. Has a bit of an "eye" effect.

    Classic Biface "handaxe".
    441763.JPG
    This one is defo one of the more interesting as in the hollow in the base there would have been a fossil originally. More, the hollow was purposely knapped around and within it there are the remains of what turned out to be "plant matter", likely tree sap, so something else was glued in place(it's too shallow to be hafted). Those black spots? They are likely animal in origin, maybe leather, which suggests the item was kept in a pouch.

    A more triangular biface.
    441764.jpg
    Loss to the tip and one edge. Very thin and very expertly knapped. Not the usual rattled off in ten minutes job. Again there is a fossil in the centre(a bivalve).

    Another Biface.
    441765.jpg
    With a clear fossil shell in the original cortex at the base. One that was again fashioned around to form the overall tool.

    Yet another biface, though more likely a cleaver as the "point" is made of a rough granular material that didn't take an edge.
    441766.jpg
    Extremely centralised placement of the inclusion, with working that reflects that(more finishing on one side than t'other). What looks to have been a sea urchin fossil within the flint(looking into it you can see the spines of same).

    Indications of a Palaeolithic aesthetic? Hard to say. One explanation could well be practical. The original external cortex of the block of flint was rougher and more grippy(the first example's gripping point is extremely grippy). So they knapped in essence a non slip grip in the centre of the tool. Bear in mind these were butchery tools and blood is very greasy. A fine flint tool covered in blood would be very slippy and unwieldy and would require a piece of leather as an extra handgrip(such tools like this show no evidence of hafting to wood like other tools of the era).

    Set against that and more in favour of an aesthetic is that many such "interesting" inclusions in the stone are surrounded by weak material. Harder to fashion and won't take a decent cutting edge. number 4 above a good example. The base with the fossil is porous granular stone. Not something one would choose to base a tool from. If it was just utilitarian you'd chose a more consistent sample of the material. Secondly there appears to be a deliberate, often with extra work involved fashioning to make the feature a part of the tools. Number 2 a good example of that. On one side it required three strikes to shape, on the other it required more like twenty.

    Another issue is us. When folks started to collect and then research these tools back in the 19th century our own modern human aesthetic really came to the fore. We sought out the "pretty" and "symmetric" tools to collect and research, usually ignoring the "boring". There is a huge selection bias going on in this field. And there still is. EG a couple of years back there was a BBC documentary on humanity fronted by Prof. Brian cox. In one part he mentioned a culture of blade tool manufacture going back 200,000 odd years ago(blade tool makers give researchers the horn in earlier peoples). Now to be fair he's a physics dude so was going off what specialists in the field had reported. However when one looks at the actual research of the site, what is very clear is that the "blades" make up a tiny percentage of tools found(IIRC out of many hundreds of tools the "blades" numbered in the low twenties). Blade culture my arse. Another example is the Neandertal Levallois technique of tool manufacture. The scientific consensus is that these follow a pre considered pattern of manufacture and there are many types of tools that were aimed for. One guy(Bordes?) set out to quantify them:

    levallois-tech_zpsb9d2d9a3(1).jpg

    Problem is that that's major conjecture and selective bias. Just going on personal interests; I've been very interested in more than the tools, but the making of same and I've a fair few Levallois lithic cores(and debittage(waste flakes) and hammerstones) and not one of them shows anything like the simple and pretty patterns above. Seriously, if you have an interest look at any published on site results and not a single example will follow any of the above "neat" definitions. They do show a way to process a block of flint to result in many useful cutting edges regardless of shape. To my mind these were first and foremost a practical people and the technique gives the maker a shedload of useful cutting edges. No aesthetic considerations required. Though every so often a tool appears to be planned, because it is reworked/retouched to fit a considered shape.

    OK, went a bit longwinded there. Again. :o

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



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  • PS. :s Only allowed to add 5 pics, so with regard to Handaxe number two above, here's an extra pic of the base, centralised hollow and in the top right corner you can see a line of the "tree sap" remnants I was speaking of:

    441770.JPG

    It;s a bit blurry. :s

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Fascinating stuff... I'm particularly intrigued by the supposed "face" you mention:
    the-mask.jpg?itok=a3G-_pNb
    It seems just as likely that it was meant to be a face, as it is to be just a case of pareidolia (at least in my untrained opinion). If it were indeed a face, tho, looks like it would depict a non-Neanderthal creature of some sort. To me it looks kind of like a barn owl :B
    373802300_5fc45a1a75.jpg
    owls.jpg
    Which makes me think of the prehistoric depictions of owls, such as the famous Chauvet owl:
    e2de9519dcea1dbba1a069358ea5d707--chauvet-cave-paleolithic-art.jpg
    And yeah I realize the above was made my sapiens, but surely Neanderthals would have been familiar with several kinds of owls, including barn owls which back then probably sook shelter mostly in caves. Owls have always captured human imagination, and are associated with death in many separate cultures. Hmm... now I'm imagining a whole scenario of Neanderthal worship of an owl deity associated with Death. What if they were returning the dead to the death god, the barn owl, whom they also tried to depict to the best of their ability?  What if sapiens adopted this cult of the death owl in prehistoric times after learning it from Neanderthals? Or the other way around?
    Yeh sorry, little flight of fancy there :B




  • I'd never considered the Owl angle at all AK. :eek: :) I genuinely reckon you might be onto something there. It is much more "owlish" than human a face. Given they were pretty handy with shaping materials if they'd wanted a human face they would likely have been able to render one. It's flat for a start and their faces weren't.

    Though that's the thing AK. It's so hard to filter out our "perception of things". EG maybe they didn't have the capacity, or quite the capacity for pareidolia that we do? Maybe that's a modern Human "glitch"? That facility to be able to see things, faces, animals, nature in natural objects and extrapolate and improve the natural to flesh it out could well be a Modern Human skill. Or maybe they could, or a few individuals could, but the group couldn't in a cultural sense? I remember reading of a group of remote peoples(whose name and location escapes :o) whose local culture had no 2D paintings or representations of nature. When showed a painting of a horse, an animal they were far more intimately involved with than most, they couldn't focus the image. They saw a glob of colour and tone, rather than the overall picture.

    With Neandertals and their isolated and likely(IMHO) xenophobic tendencies to the fore, if one bod or bodess did innovate a new way of looking it would a) die out because there was no transmission vector, or b) be kept to the local group/pack as a way to show difference. This would explain why we see eagle talons as ornament in one group of Italian Neandertals, but nowhere else(Must be in the bloody water. Even then Italians were stylish bastards :D). For them it would make no sense to copy another band of Neandertals. Whereas maybe our Killer App was that we were more gregarious and did take on things that were "fashionable", regardless of source. We see that today, even to the silly levels of accusations of "cultural appropriation". Modern Humans have always played the cultural appropriation game. It's pretty much what we do as a given.

    Interestingly, in the period of early modern human influx to Europe, what stands out is that the culture along the ice free corridor from Italy and Spain through to Austria was the same culture. Same imagery and aesthetic, same tools. It's only later when we start to feel local fashions coming into play. Maybe that's how we won against the stronger locals? They were stronger but fractured and culturally isolated groups, we were physically weaker and in a new environment but we were all in it together.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Adam Khor wrote: »

    I don't like the interpretation of the artists involved in this reconstruction, from reading the study and speaking to scientist friends, it seems to be a highly speculative representation of the findings. There are people with certain political agendas using this image and the incomplete findings to browbeat detractors of mass immigration. There's a certain individual who sits on a panel show on SKY that sends me into cataplexy when I see her smugly misuse the findings to basically say that Britain was colonised by Africans originally, so if you disagree 'muh science, shut up!'.

    There doesn't seem to be any prominent scientists taking issue with this, at least not publicly, which isn't surprising seeing as it would probably be career suicide, given the current climate.




  • Reconstructions of archaic humans vary so much. A huge amount of it is artistic interpretation, with a large chunk of public perceptions at the time. QV Neandertals were first depicted as hunched quasi human apes. Nowadays they're more and more seen as only slightly different to us. I suppose part of that was discovering we had gotten jiggy with them.

    In the men we went from this guy;

    Neanderthal.jpg

    To this guy;

    Neanderthal-jewelry-unearthed-in-northern-Italy-predates-arrival-of-modern-humans-in-Europe-300x300.jpg

    In the women we see these three examples of essentially the same skull;

    article-1058538-02B984B100000578-348_468x342.jpg

    63e0b9353cfaf85b0b9573ac4a5e044a.jpg

    CiGsLfaWsAA1WVv.jpg

    Of the top one she has lost her brow ridges and somehow got mousey blonde hair and light eyes. Major artistic licence going on there. The last example(also done by the chaps who did the subject of the thread) looks very animated, but what the hell is going on with her nose? At least she kept her brow ridges and has darker hair and eyes.

    Now with fully modern peoples we're of course on less speculative grounds, but there is still a lot of interpretation going on. I would love to give the various artists working on these a cast of a living persons skull(3d printed from a CT scan kinda thing) and let them at it. I would bet the farm the resemblance to the real person would be passing.

    The two chaps who did this latest example of the "first Briton" do really impressive work and their subjects look more "alive" than pretty much anyone else. However I would argue that they're just as interpretative as anyone else too.

    As to the skin colour? It would not surprise me to find that earlier Europeans were dark of skin. Like they note a switch to farming might well have added a large selective pressure for pale skin because of a dietary shortfall in vitamin D. Which would explain something that has long puzzled me; the very dark skin of the native Tasmanians, who lived in similar latitudes for the same length of time only in the southern hemisphere. They never took up farming and stayed as hunter gatherers so likely the selective pressure wasn't there. Though against that theory would the aforementioned Neanderthals. It seems they had genes for light skin and they certainly weren't farmers. In their case the successive ice ages they lived through and even outside of them seemed to be more a peoples of forests meant lower light again and diet couldn't keep up? They also had the largest eyes and largest brain area for vision of any humans, which would again suggest low light levels(they may have been more dawn/dusk ambush predators which could account for it).

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • Seanachai wrote: »
    I don't like the interpretation of the artists involved in this reconstruction, from reading the study and speaking to scientist friends, it seems to be a highly speculative representation of the findings. There are people with certain political agendas using this image and the incomplete findings to browbeat detractors of mass immigration. There's a certain individual who sits on a panel show on SKY that sends me into cataplexy when I see her smugly misuse the findings to basically say that Britain was colonised by Africans originally, so if you disagree 'muh science, shut up!'.
    There can certainly be some influence of a political nature as well as social. An obvious example would be how ancient Egyptians are often latterly portrayed, particularly in the US. Namely as Black Africans. Some have even suggested Cleopatra was Black, even though she was a blow in of Greek origin as the last of the Ptolemy line. There were Black pharaohs at various times, but the Egyptians themselves generally portrayed themselves as neither pale nor dark(who they also portrayed) but tanned people. Basically Mediterranean types.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.





  • The Afrocentrist folk would also have you believe that every single ancient Egyptian statue that doesn´t look black has been altered by racist Egyptologists...


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  • The remains are 5000 years old so this is really not paleontology (more like paleopathology), but still, you may find it interesting. 
    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/04/prehistoric-humans-may-have-practiced-brain-surgery-cows
    cow%20skull_16x9.jpg?itok=Mcy-cfz_


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